Moving from for to with

4064452052_88dcce6fc0_z

I relish the opportunity to meet people and talk about performance environments in sport.

Today was one of those days for me. I met remarkable people and had an opportunity to share experiences as a performance observer and analyst.

I have been able to have more of these conversations in recent years. I am struck constantly by the skill sets and understanding performance analysts have.

Some things do not change.

One recurring theme for me over the last thirty-five years has been the timing of the move from analysis for the coach to analysis with the coach.

Today’s conversation underlined for me the enormous opportunities for analysts to lead conversations with players with the blessing of the coach.

All of the analysts I have met are acutely sensitive to their role as a follower of a coach as leader. I am keen to encourage the discussions of how analysts become leaders at important moments within performance environments.

I see this as an intermediate step to empowering players to lead discussions about performance. The best organisations have made this change some time ago.

I am writing this brief post to celebrate the possibilities of with.

The move to ‘with’ is imbued with humility, I believe.

John Dickson‘s in his book Humiltas suggests that “the most influential and inspiring people are often marked by humility”. He defines humility as “the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself”.

I am hopeful that the open online course #UCSIA15 will provide opportunities to share how this humble  ‘withness’ occurs in a variety of contexts.

Photo Credit

You Turn (gfpeck, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Trust

I have come across three discussions about trust this week.

They just jumped out at me!

1. All of the guests on Phillip Adams’ review of the year spoke about trust. I thought their discussion of geo-politics and economics was fascinating. If you do listen to the podcast, Bea Campbell provides a great perspective on Occupy London. Her commentary led me to look at the St Paul’s Institute’s report on Value and Values: Perceptions of Ethics in the City Today.

2. I have been reading John Dickson’s Humiltas and have thought a great deal about the trust we invest in leaders and how each of us as a leader can build trust. (I happened upon Bret Simmons discussion of trust too.)

3. This morning my wife, Sue, alerted me to a great post. Sue is a wonderful fossicker of stories. The ABC online reports on Babies learn who to trust at early age. The report notes:

Infants normally mimic sounds, facial expressions and actions they observe but researchers at Concordia University in Montreal found that if an adult tricks them, they will no longer follow along with that person.

The findings published in the journal Infant Behavior and Development bolster previous evidence that infants can differentiate between credible and un-credible sources, the study says.

The Concordia study was published online earlier this year (25 February). The authors are Diane Poulin-Dubois, Ivy Brooker and Alexandra Polonia. The abstract is:

Research has shown that preschoolers prefer to learn from individuals who are a reliable source of information. The current study examined whether the past reliability of a person’s emotional signals influences infants’ willingness to imitate that person. An emotional referencing task was first administered to infants in order to demonstrate the experimenter’s credibility or lack thereof. Next, infants in both conditions watched as the same experimenter turned on a touch light using her forehead. Infants were then given the opportunity to reproduce this novel action. As expected, infants in the unreliable condition developed the expectation that the person’s emotional cues were misleading. Thus, these infants were subsequently more likely to use their hands than their foreheads when attempting to turn on the light. In contrast, infants in the reliable group were more likely to imitate the experimenter’s action using their foreheads. These results suggest that the reliability of the model influences infants’ imitation.

Photo Credit

St Paul’s Cathedral

Reading John Dickson: Humility and Leadership

A few weeks ago my daughter Beth alerted me to a Radio National program she had heard.

Richard Aedy interviewed John Dickson on Life Matters.

I followed Beth’s advice to listen to their discussion of humility. As a result I bought John Dickson‘s book Humiltas.

The subtitle to the book is A Lost Key to Life, Love and Leadership.

In it John suggests that “the most influential and inspiring people are often marked by humility”. He defines humility as “the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself”.

John identifies leadership as “the art of inspiring others in a team to contribute their best to a goal”. Leaders have:

  • Ability
  • Authority
  • Persuasion
  • Example

Humility “enhances persuasiveness”. John concludes his discussion of humility and leadership with six steps:

  1. We are shaped by what we love.
  2. Reflect on the lives of the humble.
  3. Conduct thought experiments to enhance humility.
  4. Act humbly.
  5. Invite criticism.
  6. Forget about being humble.

In the last paragraph of the book John quotes CS Lewis:

If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realise one is proud. And a biggish step too. At least nothing can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.

I think that is a great way to end … and start.

Photo Credit

Humility